Public Notices

Regulatory Public Notice 23-50; LRN-2023-00663

USACE - Nashville District, Regulatory Division
Published Dec. 21, 2023
Expiration date: 1/20/2024

SUBJECT: This notice announces a prospectus has been submitted for the development of the Roller Mitigation Bank – Phase I pursuant to 33 CFR 332, Compensatory Mitigation for Losses of Aquatic Resources (Federal Register: April 10, 2008, effective June 9, 2008).

PROJECT SPONSOR: Wildlands Engineering, Inc.
                                      13047 Kingston Pike
                                      Knoxville, TN 37934

LOCATION: The proposed Roller Mitigation Bank – Phase I involves 27.9-acres of 2-parcels located on the Cannon and Warren County line, approximately 12.5 miles northwest of McMinnville, Tennessee (Latitude : 35.8265380; Longitude -85.9157490). The proposed project site occurs in the Short Mountain USGS Topographic Quadrangle and lies within the Collins River watershed 8-digit Hydrologic Unit Code (HUC 05130107) and Level III ecoregion 71 – Interior Plateau.

PURPOSE: The Roller Mitigation Bank – Phase I is proposed to provide compensatory mitigation for permitted stream impacts within a primary service area of the Collins watershed (HUC 05130107) and a secondary service area of the Stones (HUC 05130203) and Caney River (HUC 05130108) watersheds.

GENERAL INFORMATION: Mitigation banks and in-lieu fee mitigation projects are defined as a site, or suite of sites, where aquatic resources (e.g., wetlands, streams, riparian areas) are restored, established, enhanced, and/or preserved for the purpose of providing compensatory mitigation for impacts authorized by Department of the Army (DA) permits pursuant to Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 and/or Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. In general, units of restored, established, enhanced or preserved wetlands or streams are expressed as “credits” which may subsequently be withdrawn to offset “debits” incurred at a permitted project site. In this way, a permit requirement to provide compensatory mitigation can be transferred to the mitigation bank sponsor or an in-lieu fee program. The operation and use of either mitigation banks or in-lieu fee programs is governed by an approved mitigation banking instrument (MBI) or in-lieu fee program instrument (ILF Program Instrument) respectively. The instrument is the legal document for the establishment and operation of a mitigation bank or the implementation of an in-lieu fee program.

A group of federal and state regulatory and resource agency representatives known as the Interagency Review Team (IRT) oversee the establishment and management of the bank. The IRT is chaired by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps). The primary role of the IRT is to facilitate the establishment of the mitigation banks and implementation of in-lieu fee programs in conjunction governing instruments. The IRT reviews the prospectus, mitigation site plan, instrument, and other appropriate documents and provides comments to the USACE.

The approval for the use of a bank or in-lieu fee program for separately authorized projects is the decision of the USACE pursuant to Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 and/or Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and/or the Tennessee Department of Environmental Conservation (TDEC) pursuant to Section 401 of the CWA and/or applicable state of Tennessee statute(s) and regulation(s). The USACE and TDEC provide no guarantee that any individual or general permit would be authorized in order to use a bank or in-lieu fee program for compensation. The following is a summary of the prospectus for this project.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The site currently consists of approximately 6,932 linear feet of unnamed tributaries to Mountain Creek and 3.202 acres of wetlands. Apart from UT1 Reach 1 and an approximately 220 LF piped section of UT1B, cattle have access to all project streams. Minimal wooded riparian buffer exists across the site, with most project streams having no wooded buffer. Historic stream straightening and riparian buffer clearing has led to incision of project streams. Lateral instability resulting from incision and cattle trampling has resulted in heavy sedimentation of project streams. Bedform diversity and deep pools are rare amongst the project streams. Large woody debris is mostly absent from project streams due to lack of existing wooded riparian buffer. In attempt to slow geomorphic change of project streams, agricultural waste such as tires, metal fencing, and concrete have been placed throughout the UT1B and UT1C. Several small, culverted farm crossings exist on site. Wetlands within the proposed project area are currently in active agricultural. Wetlands A, C, and D are currently being used as hay pasture, with all other wetland areas accessible by cattle, where signs of trampling and active long-term wallowing are evident.

The project goals are to improve and /or restore floodplain connectivity, bedform diversity, lateral stability, riparian vegetation, water quality, and wetland hydrology as well as overall stream and wetland habitat. The goals would be accomplished through the following objectives:

                   • Re-establish a functioning stream pattern, profile, and dimension,
                   • Construct riffles of coarse material & pools of varying depth,
                   • Install in-stream structures to increase channel stabilization,
                   • Add large woody debris to provide aquatic habitat,
                   • Treat invasive species & establish riparian buffer of native herbaceous and woody vegetation,
                   • Remove waste/debris placed in existing channels,
                   • Eliminate direct input of bacteria into surface waters by excluding livestock

Rosgen Priority Level I restoration practices would be implemented to restore an 8,598 linear feet of stream channels, with the exception of approximately 200 LF of UT1 Reach 2. This section is just upstream of an existing box culvert beneath Osement Road, and here, the proposed design will use a Priority II restoration approach to transition grade to match the upstream invert elevation of the existing culvert.

As proposed, the site would generate 3,495 functional feet mitigation credits as detailed in Table 1 below. The site will incorporate natural channel design techniques to provide a functional lift capable of restoring natural channel hydrology, hydraulic, and geomorphic functions. Four easement crossings/easement breaks (see Table 2) are included in the proposed Site layout, and while project streams will be restored through the proposed easement breaks, these areas are not eligible for credit generation.

Table 1. Proposed Stream Mitigation Credits

Table 2. Proposed Crossing Summary

While the project is not proposing wetland credits, the Sponsor is proposing wetland rehabilitation to existing wetlands and to re-establish 1.05 acre of additional wetlands in the buffer of UT1 (see Figure X). Wetland restoration will be accomplished through reconnecting the streams to their floodplains, raising the water table, removing invasive species, excluding cattle, and planting woody vegetation native to county & eco-region

The plan can be viewed at: http://www.lrn.usace.army.mil/Media/PublicNotices.aspx. Information in the prospectus provides further details regarding the physical and legal characteristics of the bank and how the bank would be established and operated.

HISTORIC AND CULTURAL RESOURCES: A search of the National Register returned no findings of historic properties currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places within the project area. A Phase I cultural/archaeological survey has not been conducted for the site. At this early stage in the regulatory process, no project design plans have been submitted; therefore, USACE cannot complete an effects determination for historic and cultural resources. The Corps invites responses to this public notice from American Indian Tribes or tribal governments; Federal, State, and local agencies; historical and archeological societies; and other parties likely to have knowledge of or concerns regarding historic properties and sites of religious and cultural significance at or near the project area. After receipt of comments from this public notice, the Corps will evaluate potential impacts and consult with the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and American Indian Tribes in accordance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, as appropriate. Copies of this public notice are being provided to the SHPO and American Indian Tribes. This public notice serves to initiate the public involvement requirements of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended. The Corps will continue to consult with the SHPO, American Indian Tribes, and other consulting parties in accordance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.

ENDANGERED/THREATENED SPECIES REVIEW: A review of federally-listed species that are known to or believed to occur in Cannon County, Tennessee identified the following list:

A copy of this notice is being furnished to U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) for their review. After receipt of any comments, the Corps will evaluate the potential effects to proposed and/or listed species and their designated critical habitat, and initiate consultation with the USFWS, if required.

OTHER APPROVALS: Water Quality Certification from Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) pursuant to Section 401 (a)(1) of the CWA is required for the proposed project. Other federal, state, and/or local approvals may be required for the proposed work.

EVALUATION: After the end of the comment period, the district engineer will review all comments received and make an initial determination as to the potential of the proposed project to provide compensatory mitigation for activities authorized by DA permits. That determination will reflect the national concern for both protection and utilization of important resources. The benefits, which reasonably may be expected to accrue from the proposal, must be balanced against its reasonably foreseeable detriments. Factors relevant to the proposal will be considered including conservation, economics, esthetics, general environmental concerns, wetlands, historical properties, fish and wildlife values, flood hazards, floodplain values, land use, navigation, shoreline erosion and accretion, recreation, water supply and conservation, water quality, energy needs, safety, food, and fiber production, mineral needs, considerations of property ownership, and in general, the needs and welfare of the people.

The Corps is soliciting comments from the public; Federal, State, and local agencies and officials; American Indian Tribes; and other interested parties in order to consider and evaluate the proposed activity. All comments received will be considered by the Corps during the formulation of the initial determination of potential for the proposed activity.

REQUEST FOR PUBLIC HEARING: Any person may request a public hearing. The request must be submitted in writing to the District Engineer within the designated comment period of the notice and must state the specific reasons for requesting the public hearing.

COMMENT PERIOD: Written statements received in this office within 30 days from the date of this notice will become a part of the record and will be considered in the determination. Any response to this notice should be directed to the Nashville District Corps of Engineers, Regulatory Division, Attention: Katie Alston at the above address, by email at Katherine.C.Alston@usace.army.mil or by phone at (615) 369-7500.

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William E. Worrall
Chief, Technical Services Branch
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers